When you’ve injured your hamstrings, it seems as if you’re bound for the couch for the next few weeks, right?
Injured hamstrings near the top of the thigh will require a few weeks of rest from rowing, while knee-high injuries can tolerate some rowing. The good news is that, depending on where you were injured, you may be able to start using one of the rowing machines at the gym after all!
Now keep in mind that I am NOT a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice, but rather, general advice among friends.
OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about your hamstring and how you can improve your range of motion and still maintain your fitness level.
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Can I Still Row If I Injured My Hamstring?
Your hamstrings are the large muscles on the back of the thighs. A mild hamstring injury is oftentimes nothing more than a pulled muscle that will heal in a week or two. If your injury is more to the middle or above the knee, you will find that you can tolerate some exercises, such as working out on a rower.
However, if your hamstring injury is near the top of the thigh and you feel sharp twinges of pain when you row, you should stop right away and give it a rest.
Don’t worry, staying off that leg for a week or two won’t hurt your fitness level or set you back as an athlete. What’s important is that you take the necessary steps to restore your leg’s condition and get back to your training in the shortest time possible.
Is It OK to Workout with a Pulled Hamstring?
While you may still row in the case of a mild injury, it’s not a good idea to ride a bike or do some sports games that engage and put a lot of weight on the legs.
A moderate or severe hamstring injury will already involve a partial or complete muscle tear, which will take longer to recover and rehab.
How Can I Exercise with a Pulled Hamstring?
Athletes may find it unimaginable to be inactive for any extended time. If you’re an athlete, you need to know more about muscle injuries. For instance, the hamstrings are quite long. They start from the butt down the back of the thigh, to the back of the knee. If your injury is near the top of the thigh, then you may find exercising a bit more difficult.
Speak with your doctor or chiropractor. Generally, when the hamstring injury occurs near the top of the muscle, you should spend a few weeks in recovery mode before you begin your exercise program again.
How Do You Stay Fit with a Hamstring Injury?
You can focus on other types of activities that don’t cause you pain.
Depending on where you have injured your hamstrings, you may find that swimming is fine, as does rowing, or other types of fitness activities, such as upper body workouts, recumbent bikes, recumbent cross trainers, or ellipticals.
What Should You NOT Do with a Hamstring Injury?
After a hamstring injury, perhaps the most common mistake is that people return to their regular fitness activities right away.
At the same time, you don’t want to wait too long because this can cause the connective tissue and muscles to shrink, scar tissue can form around the tear, causing you more pain and possibly even causing yourself a re-injury.
It’s a good idea to apply ice for 24 hours and give the muscle a few days to heal. Once most of the pain has subsided, you can do some gentle stretching and exercise to improve the range of motion of your affected joints.
How Do You Heal and Prevent Hamstring Injuries?
The best way to heal a hamstring injury is to avoid using it until the pain is reduced, but don’t rest too long. The goal is to prevent that muscle and connective tissue from becoming short and tight. One way to do that is by finding a pain-free movement and doing gentle exercise routines without putting too much weight on your injured muscles.
You can prevent injuries to the hamstring by regularly stretching and exercising your legs. In other words, don’t neglect muscle-specific routines, such as hamstring curls and glute bridge holds.
How to Restore Range of Motion
Injuries and pains are all too common causes of limited range of motion. The key is to improve flexibility and regain muscular strength.
Long-hold static stretches, or stretching without movement, are best for regaining range of motion. Both static and dynamic stretches are effective ways to heal, become pain-free, and reduce the risk of re-injury. Some of the best stretches that will also strengthen the muscle include:
- Hamstring Stretch
- Hip & Thigh Stretch
- Sumo Squat
- The Bridge Walk-Out
- The Hamstring Glider
There are many videos online that will show you the correct way to do these exercises.
Should I Do Cross-Training with a Hamstring Injury?
Yes, mixing up your workouts so that your body does not become accustomed to moving only in one manner is a terrific idea. Many runners alternate with other types of sports, and I know many people who run or engage in sports such as basketball or strength training.
Whatever other types of training you go with will be well worth the effort.
The Bottom Line
Stretching your hamstrings before any exercise routine will go a long way towards preventing future injuries.